Sunday, September 23, 2007

update

Things have been going blue again lately. Now that the haze of jetlag has finally dispelled somewhat and I can think without my head going fuzzy, I should try to put things together a bit. But the likelihood of success seems slim to me.



Why is it that every time I come home I feel more and more like a disaffected teenager? Far more than I ever did when I actually was a teenager, and actually lived here. There's something vaguely suspicious happening the minute you recognize in yourself every detatched/depressed-angsty-suburban adolescent character who's ever been in any movie made about disaffected suburban youth. You have to wonder, how much of it is genuine and how much unconsciously deliberate. Another one of those "This is how the movies have depicted my persona, and therefore this is how I should be, therefore this is how I am" situations.



Not that my frustration with my home community is false in any way. The truth is, of course I never really felt like I fit in here, but I used to make the best of it, more or less, I guess because I had to. But I've fallen so far out of sync with these people that it's getting harder and harder to relate to them, even to the extent of basic polite human interaction. I mean, I've never been able to pretend that I was something I wasn't, hence the dangly earrings in shul incident(see below for elaboration); but I guess at this point they've all realized there's no longer any point in trying to save me, so they've stopped caring back. Which is fine, actually, it makes life easier, if perhaps a little less friendly.

It doesn't help either that I seem also to revert to the adolescent role in family interactions. Which is ironic, because I think I was easier on the parents when I was a teenager. I guess it's always easier to be with people when you agree with them most of the time. So in addition to feeling out of place in my community, things are always sort of jarred at home too. It's my fault, really. I should have more patience and more respect. I keep telling myself I will, next time, and then somehow fall back into the same irritable patterns. It's not that I'm not trying, I think, although maybe I'm not trying hard enough. But it just gets so frustrating when I can't seem to make them hear me. Especially since I'd always kind of felt that my parents and I were more or less on the same wavelength, but lately it seems like we speak two different languages...and we mumble them.

It all just furthers the sensation that I no longer quite belong in a place where I once did. It's sort of like living in some weird alternate reality...all the cues are telling you you're home, but you don't feel at home. It's a very vague disorienting sort of a sensation. Maybe if I were here for a longer period of time I'd be able to settle into some sort of a routine, reclaim some of the old in some kind of new pattern. But just being here in bits and pieces only leaves things sort of disjointed, possibly more out of place than they were before. I guess it's a good thing; otherwise it might be too hard to leave.




(Dangly earrings in shul incident: Not sure exactly when this happened - maybe the summer after my first year in seminary? I don't think I was still in high school...Anyway, I mostly only wear long dangly earrings, because I just like them better, I think they're pretty. I have multiple pairs for shabbat, and I've been wearing them that way since at least eleventh grade. Anyway, on this one particular shabbat morning, I was walking home from shul with my friend S, who goes to the same shul as me, has also made aliyah, and is several years older, so she'd already been away from home longer than I. She looked at my earrings and remarked "I have earrings kind of like that; I was maybe going to wear them today, but then I thought, no they're too dangly for shul." (We go to a chassidishe shteibly type shul.) I put my hands up to my ears in surprise because such a thought had never actually occurred to me and said "What? Were these innapropriate?" And she said, "No, it's ok - no one notices it on you, because they know it's just you. But for me...people might have said something." It's not that these sorts of earrings aren't her; but S has a kind of a talent for blending into whatever setting she's in. She's kind of chameleon-like that way. It's more than just the clothes. She has a knack for somehow being appropriate for wherever she is, for just knowing instinctively how to act and talk and do whatever is called for. I've always envied her that actually, because she never seems awkward anywhere; whereas I, who can never be what I am not, no matter what, get into awkward situations all the time. So anyway, people in this particular setting wouldn't expect something like my earrings from her, because she would never dress that way in that setting. I, on the other hand, dress pretty much the same wherever I go. I kind of refuse to do otherwise. So people have just sort of got used to me, I guess. But I think they always thought I'd grow out of it when I grew up and needed a shidduch, and the fact that I haven't confuses and disturbs them. Which of course is just part of the fun.)

(sorry for the hazily written self-indilgen monologuing. we now return you to your previously scheduled program, already in progress...)

This is perhaps not the best recorded version, but the song exactly suits my state of mind right now....

10 Comments:

Blogger Halfnutcase said...

wow, I hope things can go better for you. Getting along and being close with family is really important, and its so frustrating when they don't cooperate or respect you, especialy after you've been living on your own.

although I should be listening to my own words.

:)

6:28 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

:) hope things have been going better for you too Yoni...

9:52 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Funny, I'm the opposite. I always felt very different and uncomfortable {and shy} in Lubavitch when I made a determined effort to fit in. Once I became "myself" {what is that anyway?} I developed a comfort with myself and with others.

Although, similar to you, these days I'm feeling pretty foreign...

9:29 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

It's a tradeoff; when you are fitting in there's the cognitive dissonance that comes with behaving other than you really are. But when you behave as you really are there's a cognitive dissonance with your environment. at least that's been my experience. as a result I've been trying to meld my concepts of Torah Judaism to fit my personality(within the realm of halacha of course.)the problem is, now I believe in a Torah Judaism that's vastly different from the one everyone around me holds....guess you can't really beat the system in the end.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Huh...I've stopped trying to fit in with my home community... I suppose it's mostly just a truculent and immature thing, but I've moved on to the 'you know what? Cope' stage of interaction. Hence my wearing pants under my skirt on my first shabbat back by pesach. I actually didn't think about how it would be viewed until it was too late and then I just decided not to care.

Family interactions, now...I have yet to quite configure those. Let me just say, it's equally weird having the parents on your half of the globe. (Although at the moment, I'm quite missing them, so go figure)

2:23 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

aaw! yeah, i've basically gone the not caring route. remind me to tell you about the simchat beit hasueva....

4:29 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

I'm not sure if cognitive dissonance was used correctly, but I hear what you're saying...

8:39 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

I'm pretty sure it was used correctly...

11:48 PM  
Blogger Scraps said...

I've been away from home for awhile, and yes, it is indeed disconcerting when home isn't really "home" anymore. One of my biggest issues is that people always seem to assume that I'm the same person I was many years ago, but I'm not.

Family interactions now are actually somewhat better than they used to be, as long as I keep them brief and somewhat impersonal. It's not like we ever talked about deep, personal stuff anyway, so it's not too hard.

Good luck to you, miri. When are you going back to Israel?

8:54 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

I'm flying sunday. too soon, and yet never soon enough...

6:01 PM  

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